It should be classed as a good weekend for the South Yorkshire clubs. Between them, the clubs took a total of 8 points from a possible 15. Rotherham United and Doncaster Rovers both got back to winning ways. The Owls and the Blades both picked up a point each while Barnsley extended their terrible away form.
Rovers 1 – 0 Leicester City
A goalkeeping blunder was the difference at the Keepmoat as Doncaster Rovers put their midweek defeat to Burnley behind them with what should be considered a vital victory over Leicester City.
City came into the match on the back of a strong start to the season, but looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back early on. Paul Keegan had an early chance from outside of the box after a poor Leicester clearance, but his shot went wide.
The impressive Federico Macheda found himself clear on the quarter hour but scuffed a shot well wide as he couldn’t get balanced.
Macheda won a corner two minutes later, which was taken by Duffy. The corner fell to Kasper Schmeichel, who caught the ball, but then fumbled it into his own net for a calamatous own goal.
Leicester had a chance on 25 minutes as Anthony Knockaert had a long range shot and Ross Turnbull had to get down sharply to save to his left.
The Foxes then managed to get a foothold in the game and were coming into it with more and more posession. Koncheskey hit a drive right at Turnbull before half time, but the signs were that Leicester were going to throw the kitchen sink at Rovers in search of an equaliser.
However, whatever Foxes manager Nigel Pearson said after half time did not work, and Rovers were untroubled by the Leicester forward line. Knockaert blasted a free kick well over and the other chance came from the boot of a Rovers player when Khumalo slid in on a low drilled cross. Luckily Turnbull was aware and scrambled the ball away. Otherwise, a team containing Nugent, Vardy and Schlupp in attack did not really trouble Doncaster until the final five minutes, when the kitchen sink was indeed thrown.
Long balls and set pieces were delivered into the Rovers box, but the defence stood resolute and cleared everything. The referee blew the full time whistle and signalled the end and Rover’s third home win in the Championship so far this season, and lifting them up to 16th in the table.
Roves boss, Paul Dickov was impressed with his sides work, telling the BBC “We came up against a top team and competed very well with and without the ball.”
QPR 2 – 0 Tykes
Barnsley’s long wait for a win at Loftus Road goes on as QPR kept up the pressure on leaders Burnley. The visitors went into the fixture on the back of five successive away defeats, and no win in the league in five, so the odds were stacked against Daivd Flitcrofts men.
But the Tykes for the longest time looked like they would leave the capital with at least a point.
David Flitcroft was able to name a nearly full strength side, with Nyatanga the only missing piece. Ramage and Cranie started in central defence in front of the impressive Jack Butland in goal.
The game started slow, with Tykes only real sniff being a long range shot from Mellis which was straight down the throat of ex England goalkeeper Rob Green.
QPR had a real chance to go into the break one goal to the good, but for Butland. Charlie Austin got free and shot, but Butland saved with his legs and then scrambled Faurlin’s follow up away. Joey Barton fizzed a shot wide from 25 yards. The signs were there, and it felt like it was a question of not would QPR score, but when.
The teams went into half time at 0-0.
Barnsley were quick out of the blocks in the second half. Peter Ramage found space and headed over.
But that was about it for Barnsley, as first Assou-Ekoto and then Kranjcar threatened the goal, with the latter’s effort being cleared off the line by McCourt.
QPR have riches of talent to choose from, and Junior Hoilett came off the bench and delivered a corner which found Charlie Austin, who placed a left footed shot into the bottom corner. There was nothing on loan Stoke ‘keeper Butland could do.
With four minutes to go, Cranie took down Austin in the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Austin drilled home the spot keep to double his, and QPR’s tally.
Reds boss Flitcroft was positive despite the defeat, and is looking forward to the international break to recuperate. The manner of the defeat was not as bad as has been and performances have certainly picked up with the loan signings coming in. Flitcroft is still looking for one more loan signing and may use the break to bring experienced heads in.
Owls 1 – 1 Ipswich
At what point do Owls fans really start to worry that the long elusive win just isn’t coming? The long wait goes on, and now ten games in, the Owls are still winless. The Owls have drawn an incredible SIX times in ten games.
The match followed what is a familiar pattern for Wednesday. Ipswich launched a quick counter attack, and McGoldrick sprinted with the ball down the left wing and crossed in for right winger Anderson in the middle with a first time shot. Ipswich fans went mental, but were soon silenced.
Two minutes later, Reda Johnson crossed the ball in. Swiss striker Nuhiu headed back across goal and Michael Antonio got on the end of it and scoring, unchallenged to equalise.
In the 35th minute, Skuse had a shot for Ipswich which hit the base of Kirkland’s right hand post, with the ‘keeper beaten. Minutes later, Skuse lifted a twenty yard shot over the bar.
Before half time, the Owls threatened, and Llera clipped a ball over the top to Fryatt who volleyed straight at the goalkeeper, Gerken.
After half time, the teams again defensive blunders. Murphy had a free header for Ipswich which went wide. Then Reda Johnson got to an Antonio cross but could not direct the ball goalwards.
The Owls looked nervy as the match continued. Chris Kirkland made two fine saves to keep his side level. McGoldrick again found himself with a free header, over the bar.
The Owls on the back foot, they had one final chance, which was jermaine Johnson shot from 30 yards which hit the bar.
With the Owls still looking for their first win, the key thing that both managers will take away from this match is that you just cannot defend like this week in week out.
Blades 1 – 1 Crawley Town
Sheffield United ended a run of six straight defeats with a point ot Bramall Lane against Crawley Town on Friday Night.
Simon Lappin was named at left back as David Weir looked to shore up his defence. The Blades had a bad start though as Crawley Town’s big striker Jamie Proctor caused havoc with his physicality for the first 25 minutes.
Crawley went ahead early, with a goal from the big man on 10 minutes. Town’s Andy Drury crossed across goal and Proctor headed home from close range.
The Proctor threat was nullified ever so slightly on 25 minutes when he went into the referee’s book for an unfair challenge. However, he did flash a shot wide on 42 minutes. Febian Brandy had a rare and tame shot just before half time, which was greeted with sarcastic cheers and applause by the travelling fans, such was Crawley’s dominance in the first half.
United trudged off at half time to what is now a familiar sound at Brammall Lane – disgruntled boos of an unhappy crowd.
It looked to be more of the same after the break, as Crawley had two chances early on.
Bramall lane needed something to spark it into life, and on 52 minutes, Anthony McMahon hit the post from outside the area. Blades fans roared their team into life, and ten minutes later, the impressive Brandy set Marlon King free, and the Jamaican International finished low into the bottom right of the goal to equalise.
Conor Coady had a shot that was well saved by the Town goalkeeper, and then Lyle Taylor and Brandy all went close. Right at the death, jamie Murphy had a shot saved from outside the area. Sheffield United ended their dismal run with a point.
For a Friday night match, an attendance of 15,401 is quite impressive.
Following the match, David Weir told The Star of his frank, honest “chat” at half time.
“There were questions posed in the dressing room. But the lads answered some questions in the second-half and showed they would not accept defeat. It would have been easy for them to lay down but they responded. They showed the attitude and application which, combined with other qualities, can take you a long way. We are not delighted to draw at home but hopefully that will be a positive step forward.”
Meanwhile, Crawley boss Richie Barker told the BBC of his players upset at not getting a win. “The lads are devastated in there and it comes to something when Crawley Town go to Bramall Lane and draw and the players are devastated, so I think that’s a measure of how far we’ve come.”
While that does show how far Crawley have come as a club, there is a belief around Bramall Lane it also shows how far the Blades have decline in the past six months. The fact that we are in October and the Blades are relieved to climb off the foot of the table does not bode well for a team who were tipped for promotion at the outset of the season.
Brentford 0 – 1 Millers
Steve Evans yesterday hailed the Miller’s 1-0 victory at Brentford as the biggest result of his time at the club. And that inludes victories over both Sheffield clubs. Last week, Rotherham lost to Peterborough at home, and the Millers were keen to underline their credentials as a top six team, and a performance and result against Brentford goes some way to doing that.
516 loyal fans made the long trip down to Griffin Park to watch last season’s third place team, Brentford against Rotherham United.
The Bees started brightly with McCormack taking a shot which Shearer beat away. Donaldson then tried his luck from the edge of the area which Scott Shearer got down to and held onto.
14 minutes in, the big man, Alex Revell was fouled on the left. Ben Pringle launched a dangerous set piece into the Brentford area and right back Mark Bradley lost his marker and powered a header into the back of the net to send the Millers fans wild.
Saunders for Brentford and Pringle for Rotherham both had long distance efforts miss before Donaldson found himself one on one with the Rotherham ‘keeper. Scott Shearer has been criticised recently by Miller’s fans (myself included) but he played a blinder today and made a magnificent save to deny an equaliser.
Minutes later, Tubbs had an effort from 25 yards which was saved by the Brentford goalkeeper, Button.
On 37 minutes, Rob Milsom picked up a yellow card for diving, joining Kieron Agard in the book who had also been booked for simulation earlier in the match. Nobody likes to see that and some of the fans were grumbling in the away end.
Brentford piled on the pressure towards the end of the first half, with Trotta looking extremely bright, but the Miller’s held on into the half time break.
Somewhat surprisingly, Trotta was taken off at the break with Grigg his replacement for Brentford. Soon after the restart, another Pringle delivery caused confusion in the Brentford defence, but no grey Miller’s shirt could get on the end of it and the ball flashed harmlessly across goal.
Brentford had a penalty appeal waved away as Logan fires an effort at Kari Arnason. it would have been harsh, but those have been given against the Icelandic international already this season.
Seconds later, a Miller’s counter attack saw Revell release Matt Tubbs, but the on loan Bournmouth striker fired wide. That signalled the end of Matt Tubbs match and Danny Hylton came on to replace him. Tubbs has failed to make an impact thus far in his Rotherham career. The signs are there, though.
His replacement, Danny Hylton did his chances no harm though. Minutes after coming on, he forced the Brentford defence into a clearance which went out for a throw. The throw was taken quickly, and to Hylton who powered into the box and won a corner. The corner came to nothing. Hylton and Revell combined well minutes after to release Pringle who shot just wide.
Frecklington had an effort flashing wide of the far post, before Brentford piled on the pressure in the final five. Dean played a neat one two with Saunders before hitting a deflected shot into the arms of Scott Shearer.
Into time added on, Saville hit a spectacular 30 yard shot which was destined for goal, but for an equally spectacular save by Scott Shearer. The resulting corner came into the box and the Bees players and fans shouted for two penalties, but the referee waved play on and then blew up for full time.
The travelling Millers fans were ecstatic. The team were organised and solid defensively, and then going forward always posed a threat. The Millers certainly look the real deal this season, and on this evidence will be at the very least top half finishers this season.
Some fans are lauding Steve Evans as a genius.
The manager was not the most popular choice when he was appointed 18 months ago, but a promotion, and a change in the way he carries himself in media interviews and on the touchlines has seen Miller’s fans take him to heart. It helps that he genuinely appears to care about the club.
Perhaps the ghost of Ronnie Moore has finally been laid to rest.